By Floro Mercene
Congressman Rolando Andaya Jr., of the first district of Camarines Sur vociferously opposed the Naga Airport modernization in Pili municipality, a Department of Transportation (DOTr) project, under President Duterte’s “Build, Build, Build” program.
Why does Andaya wants to sabotage the airport modernization when he is one of the pro-administration party’s stalwarts in Bicolandia? The project would reap numerous economic benefits for his home province of CamSur by enticing more tourists to come.
This should be Andaya’s priority as PDP-Laban leader and CamSur legislator.
Andaya’s bodyguards and Pili Mayor Tomas Bongalonta Jr., stormed the airport construction site, driving away Sagip Kalikasan Task Force (SKTF) last April 18. The task force trooped to the Pili Municipal Police Station to report Andaya’s violent acts.
Andaya followed the SKTF to the Police Station and became enraged that Congressman LRay Villafuerte was there. Television footage showed Andaya challenging someone to a fight, beyond the camera range, which turned out to be Villafuerte.
Why did Andaya stop the workers of CamSur, outside of his jurisdiction since he represents the first district?
Why did Mayor Bongalonta accompany Andaya and apparently encourage the congressman’s act? Andaya has been telling CamSur residents that he is being eyed by Vice President Leni Robredo as her gubernatorial bet in 2019.
Camsur has been overseeing the Naga airport project based on a 2016 Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), with the Department of Transportation (DOTr). The latter has committed P402 million for the project, including the acquisition of affected residents’ lots. Camsur is to identify the affected parties and to supervise the purchase of their lots with just compensation, including their resettlement.
“The airport development is among the priority projects of the national government, including the re-orientation of Naga Airport to serve the Metro Naga and Camarines Sur,” the MOA stated.
Undersecretary Marvel Clavecilla, presidential adviser on Bicol affairs, defended the project and criticized local politicians for using the farmer’s expropriated lots to advance their own political agenda.
“They should not hinder or protest the project. This is for the benefit of all,” Clavecilla said, adding that the protesters are misinformed or misled by people with evil motives.